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Former Premier’s Resignation From Australian Liberal National Party Not Brave: Deputy Prime Minister

Former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has decided to “kick” the people who supported him by resigning, says Barnaby Joyce.

BRISBANE, Australia — Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said that Campbell Newman’s decision to quit Queensland’s Liberal National Party is not politically brave and is timed to damage the party.

The former Queensland premier resigned from the Liberal National Party and his position as party trustee after its annual conference, saying he was “dismayed” with both the state and federal arms of the party.

Newman accused the Liberal National Party of failing to stand up for individual freedom and small businesses amid a “heavy-handed” response to Covid-19.

While Joyce said he respected Newman, he accused the former premier of lacking political valor and bravery and timing his resignation to damage the Liberal National Party.

“To be quite frank, I do not respect this,” said Joyce.

The deputy prime minister said he would have respected Newman if he had stood up to explain his decision to supporters and grassroots Liberal National Party members at the party conference rather than issuing a statement.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says Newman’s exit is a decision to break ranks from the Liberal National Party. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

“To make an announcement in the middle of a conference without telling anybody is not the first move of a person who is doing something that is showing sort of some form of political bravery. It’s obviously (the) timing is for damage,” said Joyce.

“Why would you do that to the people who formerly supported you? Now I can understand people’s political views change, but the first move you make in your new political career is a reflection of the type of politics that you will follow, and the first move was: ‘I’m going to kick you.’”

Newman accused the Liberal National Party of failing to stand up for fiscal responsibility, smaller government, support for small business, elimination of red tape, and free speech and liberty.

“The last straw for me has been the destruction of people’s livelihoods, jobs, and freedoms under governments’ heavy-handed response to Covid-19 across the nation,” he said in a statement.

Newman’s resignation came a day after former Queensland opposition leader Lawrence Springborg was elected Liberal National Party president on July 24.

Springborg promised to end the organizational wing’s interference in the Liberal National Party’s parliamentary wing.

On the night of July 24, Labor comfortably held onto the state seat of Stretton, in south Brisbane, in a by-election called after the death of sitting Labor’s Member of Parliament Duncan Pegg in June 2021.

Liberal National Party state director Tony Eyres thanked Newman following his resignation on the night of July 25.

“The Liberal National Party would like to wish former premier Campbell Newman all the best in his new direction,” Eyres said in a statement on July 26.

“On the weekend, the grassroots members and the parliamentary team of the Liberal National Party made a clear decision to chart a new path of unity, laying a strong platform for the party’s future and, in turn, the future of Queensland. The Liberal National Party thanks Mr. and Mrs. Newman for their service.”

Speaking on July 26, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that Newman’s exit is to break ranks from the Liberal National Party.

“What I find interesting is it’s not the Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli distancing himself from Campbell Newman, it’s Campbell Newman distancing himself from the Leader of the Opposition and from the Liberal National Party,” she said.

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra